U of I hosts 26th APSENA Conference

10/16/2009 10:12:00 AM

On October 17-18, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted the 26th annual conference of The Association of Pakistani Scientists and Engineers in North America (APSENA)  at the I-Hotel and Conference Center.

APSENA, since its inception in 1983 has worked toward developing intellectual, scientific, and academic linkages between Pakistan and the U.S. This conference will focus on issues of critical relevance for Pakistan in particular and the world in general, as it is themed: Water: Lifeline for Energy and Health. 

Water scarcity has now emerged as a major source of destabilization in the international system with manifold ramifications. Pakistan has been gravely affected by the shortage of water. Large segments of population in Pakistan lack access to clean drinking water. 

“Lack of clean drinking water has caused the spread of numerous diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, polio, diarrhea, and parasitic infections,” said Dr. Atifa Shuaib, an associate professor of pathology at the Rawalpindi Medical College, and a physician at the Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi, who also is one of the invited speakers at APSENA 2009 conference. In addition, water scarcity has resulted in shortfall of approximately 3500 megawatt of electricity in the country. 

Developing consensus between different provinces of Pakistan over the allocation and distribution of water resources also has been a cause for friction posing a major challenge to the federation of Pakistan. Similarly some of the key disputes between India and Pakistan are linked to their contentious claims about sharing of water in the Indo-Pak sub-continent.

“Since its inception APSENA has attempted to provide a platform for intellectual exchange and develop societal linkages between Pakistan and the USA”, said APSENA President Dr. Nusrat Naqvi, a professor of biology at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  She added, “APSENA's 26th annual conference aims to discuss the various issues at scientific, entrepreneurial, and policy-making levels.” 

APSENA 2009 conference chair Irfan Ahmad, an associate director at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and faculty at the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering highlighed the conference vision and theme saying that, “the academic and intellectual forums like APSENA 2009 conference have assumed greater significance in the contemporary security environment, as they move to discuss issues at the nexus of water, energy, and health.  Water is intrinsically connected to nutrition and agriculture, which are inherently impacted by the availability of potable and irrigation water.” 

He further added, “APSENA 2009 conference plans to produce policy framework to deal with the manifold ramifications of water shortage, which can be presented to the policy makers in the U.S. and Pakistan, and other development and funding agencies.”

To address some of these complex issues at scientific, entrepreneurial, and social levels, the APSENA 2009 program committee has invited key speakers and panelists, some of whom are world renowned experts in these areas, while others have made significant contributions at local and regional levels. Among the keynote speakers are: Asad Abidi, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering; Mark Shannon, professor of mechanical science and engineering and director of the National Science Foundation-funded WaterCAMPWS at Illinois; and Shahid Khan, president of Flex-N-Gate, Urbana, Illinois. Graduate students will be presenting posters, and the conference envisages developing a set of recommendations.  Welcome remarks will be delivered by the U of I Vice Chancellor for Research, and the Deans of the Colleges of Engineering, and Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, Illinois State Senator Michael Frerichs, and Representative Naomi Jakobsson.

This year's APSENA conference was webcast and was cosponsored by several industry, professional associations, University of Illinois departments and units, and the Pakistani students' association. 

For further information visit:

Contact: Nusrat H. Naqvi, PhD, president, APSENA, 225/572-4247.
Irfan Ahmed, APSENA 2009 Conference Program Chair, 217/333-2015.